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Old I Shop Therefore I Am

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John Medaille

on 1 April 2018

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Transcript of Old I Shop Therefore I Am

The Buy-ological Imperative
What do Companies Make?
? ? ?
A Firm's most important product is...
What they really make is...
The customer must be remade in the image and likeness of the product
This really is new...
IN the last 100 years...
And it really is an imperative!
Capital-intensive, specialized machinery
Not easily be switched to new product lines
Very high capital costs
Markets quickly become saturated
so that customers must
the product
"Instilling in the buyer
-Brook Stevens, 1954
The Primacy of Advertising
Design for the shortest length of time that consumers can be conditioned to accept.
"The systematic attempt of business
Vance Packard
"The Waste Makers," 1960
Without such compulsive consumption
Advertising, understood not as persuasion
Companies no longer make useful things,
Makes no products
The possibility of overproduction leads to the
hence, the
primacy of advertising
over production
The Philosophical Imperative
We must rationalize our actions
We do so in terms of some (implicit) philosophy
But prior to philosophy there is narrative ("myth")
psychology, sociology, politics, mathematics, art, music, engineering, etc
Advertising has supplanted philosophy as the chief integrator of the arts and sciences
But advertisers, like everybody else, need some way to rationalize their actions
Rejection of all authorities in favor of pure rationalism
We live in a material world which a purely objective science can explain, given enough time and funding
1. "There is nothing outside the text" (Jacques Derrida)
Provide the necessary rationalization for advertising to serve the buyological imperative
Identify an intangible desire...
One who takes
for himself, his family, his community and his country
one whose identity is derived from what he/she
De-Programing Ourselves
1. Turn the ads off...
Markets would quickly be saturated and demand would dry up
Planned Obsolescence
and this
We are all "philosophers" whether we wish to be or not
Our "narratives" pre-judge all information
We justify things in terms of the narrative
the human person and society
It has found this justification within an interpretation of
Radical individualism
The Cult of the "Experts"
Self-interest as the prime political and economic principle
Science therefore is a "meta-narrative" capable of rendering judgment on every other account of the world
Materialism, rationalism, individualism
Four Propositions:
2. "Power is knowledge" (Michel Foucault)
4. Suspicion of "Metanarratives" (Jean-Francois Lyotard)
Advertising & The Dark Side
except that which the consumer has been trained to assign to them
This is the job of advertising
Advertising and Philosophy
"Coke is the real thing"
The object is to convert us...
Nor was it necessary to design products to last.
Which leads to the need to create
Advertising is the most "philosophic" of all modern disciplines
it seeks to integrate all branches of human knowledge:
The ads lose their power over us
4. Try to reconstruct the emotional argument
3. Note images, colors, ages of the actors, type of music, etc.
2. Try to construct the "logical" argument
... or WATCH them

Nike makes
(not the best strategy)
with you full mind!
5. Identify the non-marketable "product"
Very low unit costs
Marketing, not production or design, becomes the strategic function
permanently discontented individuals."
to make us wasteful,
becomes the lynchpin of the whole system
but as the creation of desire,
Actual production is outsourced
High re-tooling costs
Two kinds:
No losers
Real losers
"All is fair"
Two problems:
Shortage of demand
Must produce in high volumes
Economic Oligarchy
Competition becomes war-like
Overproduction leads to bankruptcy
Each company can saturate the market
Failure of Demand
Cannot survive on replacement or population growth
"Everybody has one"
Saturated markets
Let things wear-out faster
or release improvements slowly
a little sooner than is necessary."
a little better,
to own something a little newer,
Necessary to "instill" the desire for ever-new things
The Buyological Imperative
our industrial production system could not survive
Cultural Alzheimers
Constant poverty
Forget who we are
Forget what we own
Must re-buy what you already own
Since Desire is the product
they make...
has no factories.
blesses all that it touches
Philosophy is a reflection on the narrative
And then we use philosophy to rationalize the narrative
3. "Politics precedes being" (Gilles Deleuze)
The Four Frenchmen of the Apocalypse
But he has a degree from the Sorbonne
Is the Devil From Paris?
"There Is Nothing Outside the Text"
"Power is Knowledge"
"Politics Precedes Being"
Suspicion of Metanarratives
Not "textual idealism"
and language is a social construct
All knowledge is mediated thru language,
Is this just crazy?
What counts as "knowledge" is shaped within networks of political, social, and economic power
ALL knowledge grounded in faith (myth)
Desire is socially created
News media
Academic journals
Your being is preceded by politics
The ready-made society of the family
No philosophy not already embedded in politics
Reality not static, but dynamic
Rooted in desire
society creates the individual, and does so for its own purposes
Individuals do not create society...
"Explanation of Everything" (Myth)
Jesus gives us not a summa, but biography (mythos & logos)
Science is no less a narrative than religion
People socially created to serve needs of those in power
Free choice is an illusion
Social reality not "objective," but created
These propositions undermine the liberal world order
The "Dark Side"
The "Light Side"
But seems to regard this as the only notion of truth
PM rejects modern notions of truth
Radical Orthodoxy
Establish "religious truth" on an equal basis with "modern scientific truth"
Allows for a critique of modernism
Create a "hyper-reality"
Things have no inherent meaning,
Competes with religion
with a salable commodity
but it does so for the purpose of manipulating
--or even subverting--
Advertising as Social Engineering
then there is only the hyper-reality we create
You are what you buy
If there is no "objective" reality,
Paul Mazer - Lehman Brothers
We must shape a new mentality...Man's desires must overshadow his needs."
People must be trained to desire, to want new things even before the old had been entirely consumed.
"We must shift America from a needs to a desires culture
The Creation of "Reality"
Edward Bernays (1891-1995)
Propaganda -> "Public Relations"
Engineering of consent
Applied Freudian psychology to advertising
From W. Wilson to R. Reagan
Nephew of Sigmund Freud
Engineering of desire
Why Do Women Smoke?
The Goal
The Postmodern Response

Desire is socially created
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